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Letters Sent But Unreceived

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8/25/xx

Dear Dad,

 

I know there’s no point in writing this. You’ll never be able to read this. But it’ll make me feel better.

Yesterday, or maybe it was the day before, some friends and I went out for a drive, and now I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to go home. We were on the road and suddenly we weren’t. Suddenly we were in a thick forest about 12 feet up a tree. Stiles has been crying over his car since. He’s been switching between anger and tears and fear. The rest of us were just happy to get out of the tree.

After, when we started looking at the forest we realized just how strange it was. Well, we realized how strange it was when we saw the blue squirrel. At first, we thought we might have driven off a cliff or something, I mean, there was a lot of bumping before our initial landing. None of us had ever been on that road before and we thought that maybe a guardrail and been knocked over and we hadn't noticed. Or had no way to notice. But it was still night. So we didn't have a good way to check, and we had been knocked around enough in the landing that we weren't really sure which way the road was.

So we decided to wait for sunrise. Figured it'd be safer or something. We were wrong

With the sunshine came the squirrels and the strangely colored birds and the birds with four legs. We were really confused by those.

Next, we went the way we thought the road was, but there was no road, there was no road for miles and miles. That we know because I climbed a tree as high as I could go and I couldn't see any real roads, but I did see smoke in the distance. And the tower, we shouldn't ha-

We went to the smoke and found the tower there too. The villagers, there's really no better word for them, took us to the tower. They being what looked like the closest thing to guards the little village had. The tower was tall, almost skyscraper tall, and looked like cobblestone.

Inside was the oldest person I've ever seen. He was a maximum of four feet tall and was so stooped that he was almost bent in double. He sounded exactly like you'd expect an ancient, omnipotent wizard to sound. Also, he spoke nearly entirely in rhyme, or he'd trick someone into finishing his rhyme, I think that part was mostly magic though.

He told us that he had sent a message into the universe to find us and bring us to him. Apparently, he didn't mean us specifically. Just us, as random people, to save the world, this world, a world we have no ties to, and defeat a great evil that has spread over the land over the last decade or so. I mean, he was very persuasive and managed to carefully avoid all of our questions about why someone else couldn't do it, that I have to give him credit for.

Credit where credit's due, right Dad?

He took us deep into his tower. He fitted us with armor that was somehow perfectly our size and with weapons we didn't know how to use and sent us off.

The seemingly hours we had spent in his tower not even a full one, and we had time to travel to a nearby, much larger town. When we got there we were greeted by actual guards, with weapons that were much more deadly than a couple of pitchforks. They frogmarched us to the 'Master of the Town' an extraordinarily unpleasant man who told us that we would be dealing with the monsters plaguing the town in the morning, but for now, we are being kept as 'guests' in his home. Each of us has a room to ourselves, but the guards outside the door let us know that we're really prisoners.

Tomorrow we may face our doom. But tonight we sleep in really comfortable beds.

If I never write you again-

I'm going to find a way home-

I'm sorry-

I love you, Dad, I'll write again when I can.

 

Your son,

Jack

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8/27/xx

Dear Dad,

 

I’m not dead yet!

But it was a real close thing. Well, a real close thing for some of us. We’ve discovered that Stiles, Willow, and I have absolutely no clue how to fight anything. You know me, I always try to talk things out, but this time I couldn’t.

Stiles is… He’s definitely not a fighter. He ran towards the creature, we aren’t sure what it was, and immediately got thrown off to the side where he was knocked unconscious. Actually, he may have been knocked unconscious by any of the like three times his head hit something, but that doesn’t matter now.

Willow couldn’t even lift the sword given to her properly, and she had no other weapons to use, but she distracted it well enough. Spinning, jumping, making crazy noises, then she was dodging for the most part. She and I got its attention when the other’s hit it so its rage was focused on us but luckily, miraculously one could say, she never got hit by it.

I wasn’t quite as lucky, it got a couple of good swipes on me, but the stupid armor I was wearing was dragging me down, I couldn’t move as fast or as much as I needed to, to avoid getting hit. The good thing about this place is they’ve got magic healers with magic potions and spells to heal people, so now I only have the faintest of scars from where it’s claws caught my arms and chest.

Reese and Rikki were like avenging angels though. They picked up their weapons like they were nothing and tore through the beasts hide like butter. It was awe-inspiring and terrifying.

Grace, well, she looked like a being of grace. She never attacked it right on, but she helped keep it away from Stiles. She just, she was better when she didn’t have to use one of the swords, she used rocks and other things she picked up off the ground.

It was kinda amazing. We hadn’t worked together like this before, but we were able to kill this thing working together. That’s not to say we did it without injury, because that would be wrong, but we did it. No one was missing any limbs when we were done. But I have to say it was a near thing.

We took one of its claws with us back to the village. There was cheering, and feasting, and drinking. - The booze tasted so bad, it was like coffee and sour grapes had a hate baby. So bad, like spite was an actual flavor-

Lots of people came by to congratulate us. They were sure that we were going to die like the last groups. - How many people had been killed by this thing before? How did we survive?-

It was a strange party, we were told to sit at a table we weren’t really allowed to leave. When we tried to tell them we were injured they told us to stay, someone would be along shortly to help. - These people are crazy Dad, Resse’s arm was all torn up-

I learned that it is a bad idea to point and laugh at the old man under a silly and pompous looking hat. Not because I laughed at him. Oh no, poor concussed Stiles made that mistake. Apparently, the man beneath the very, very large and incredibly silly hate was some kind of priest(?) and he then said some mumbo jumbo and actually managed to fix all of our wounds. Not before turning Stiles’ hair green. - Not sure how long that’s going to last.-

We weren’t officially allowed to leave until the sun was once again lighting the sky. I don't know if they had guards outside our door during the day. But when I woke up around midafternoon there weren’t any.

I had to wander a little to find someone to figure out where I could get dinner, - Lunch? Linner?-

I was sent back to the room I’m sleeping in and told someone would bring something up to me. I decided to write this while I wait.

I know this won’t reach you, but I love you and I miss you a lot. I hope you aren’t too worried, even though there’s a lot to be worried about.

 

-I’ll get home-

-They can’t keep us here-

Love you lots, I’ll write soon.

 

Love,

Jack

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8/31/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Last time I wrote we had slain the monster, which I now know was Dire Badger. Apparently, in this world, some animals just grow up with scales and armor and to be way bigger than most of their family. Gotta say I never wanna deal with one of those again.

We were allowed to leave the village the morning after I wrote my last letter, I guess after defeating the beast they wanted to make sure we were “Taken Care Of.” So that was weird. They gave us horses and packs full of food, some other supplies that some of us knew how to use and others didn’t.

We got going early in the morning, the six of us riding off like gallant heroes, you know, except for the part where literally none of us had ever ridden a horse before. So we played the game of, “how many times are each of us going to fall off or get thrown off our horses?” Reese won? Lost? Either way, he got thrown about 12 times that first day.

We found another village about a full day from the last one, they had an inn and offered knowledge of a monster causing problems to the south. We told them we’d deal with it in the morning and all promptly went to bed. Well, we got some rooms first, Rikki paid for all of them with just two of the silver coins we had, I guess that money is different here because the “Master of the Town” gave us a small bag filled with coins for the monster slaying but the lady behind the counter almost cried when we offered a gold coin. Said she just couldn’t accept that. Felt wrong taking so much from kids like us. I don’t know.

The next day we rode The South Road, -didn’t they have a better name for it?  We didn’t even make it to the town, the thing attacked us in the middle of the woods. Grace was raked by its claws, - God, I can’t describe it-

-She looked dead-

-There was so much blood-

-If she-

-She’s okay now, but at the time, -she looked-

The thing, the weird bear thing, came out of nowhere, it knocked Grace from her horse and the rest of us did our best to spring into action. Well, Reese’s foot got caught in his saddle, and he fell facefirst onto the road. But other than hat we did halfway decent at -desem -disembeck Die -Dem Getting off our horses.

When we stood up against it I think we confused it. Mostly because of how long it paused before attacking the rest of us. Well, at least attacking those of us who were attacking.

Rikki grabbed Grace and threw her and Stiles onto a horse, telling him to get her to the next town and to a doctor ASAP. Then she all but flew into the bear thing sword first.

It was, God, Dad, She was like an avenging angel. She killed it with nothing but righteous rage and - and- a sword. It was amazing, it was like she was taken over by something, -Something more than herself- -Bigger than herself?- -It was unreal-

She killed it with one blow. Straight into its chest her sword went, right to the ground the bear thing went.

I don’t think any of us moved for a few minutes, we were all too shocked at everything that had happened in what felt like a breath. We all just breathed for a few minutes. Then Rikki told Reese and I to help her get the bear thing on the back of Grace’s horse. She wanted to see if it was the creature that had been harassing the villagers.

Together we somehow got it on the horse, it was the size of a grizzly. Bigger probably. And it smelled so bad! Like trash that had rotten meat and had been left in the sun all day!

After we got it on the horse we went to the town at a slightly-faster-than-a-normal-walk walk. The villagers told us it was, in fact, the thing that had been harassing them and that they wanted to thank us.

I asked if Grace and Stiles had been through yet and they pointed me to a little stone building on the edge of the town. But when I tried to go in, there was Stiles, holding me back. He said the priest-person didn’t want anyone going in until he was done so they wouldn’t break his -conca- -conset- -Constrat- His focus.

Finally, I agreed to go back to the others, the villagers set us up in a slightly larger than most of the buildings, I guess it’s an inn(?) and brought us a decent amount of food.

I told the others what Stiles told me, and then we waited. Well, most of us waited, Rikki demanded that she be able to have a bath of some sort. Which was provided, there are bathtubs literally suspended over a fire(!) near the center of town. Rikki went first but the rest of us took turns to get clean.

It seemed like forever before someone came to tell us anything about Grace’s condition. Stiles looked relieved when he came in, -but he was still covered in blood, Grace’s blood.- I think that’s the only reason that I didn’t freak out so much.

The priest dude told us that Grace wasn’t at risk of dying anymore. But he had only healed her as much as he was able. Which wasn’t a lot, but she was better than she had been. He encouraged us to go see her before settling in for the night.

-I was so scared, Dad. She was so pale and so still and covered in so many bandages-

Finally seeing her was like someone had punched my breath outta me. Seeing she was okay was almost too much. I saw her, and I nearly collapsed in relief. Well, I kinda did, Reese caught me so I didn’t fall all the way to the ground. She wasn’t awake then. I mean, she’s still not awake, but it’s normal.

We all proved to ourselves that she was still alive, then the others went back to the inn(?) to sleep. I wanted to stay. I told the others that I just wanted to make sure she was safe in an unfamiliar town, - this whole place is unfamiliar though- the others believed me, or if they didn’t they didn’t say anything. I really wanted to make sure that the first person she saw when she wakes up is me.

After the others left the priest dude (who I now know as Benth) came to check on Grace’s bandages, it was bad underneath them, I helped, but, the wounds were really bad. Benth told me they weren’t as bad as they looked. I asked him why he hadn’t healed her all the way like the man in the first town had. I think I embarrassed him. He was quiet for a long enough time that I thought he was just going to stop talking to me. Then he told me that he was new to wielding “Divine Power.” Apparently, he was “on his path” and this was his first time working in a temple where there was no one closer to “Kegga(?)” and he hadn’t expected to have to deal with anyone of Grace’s level of damage while here.

After that, we just focused on Grace, he finished fixing up her bandages and I helped where I could. I sat by her side for a while, first just watching her breath, then reading the book that Benth and none too subtly left at her bedside, and now writing this letter.

Grace hasn’t woken up yet, and it’s almost dawn. I think that by the time she wakes up I’ll be dead to the world. When she wakes up I’m going to do everything I can to keep her comfortable until she’s fully healed, - whenever that is.-

 

-Sorry this one’s so long-

-Tell Grace’s dad-

I’ll try to avoid getting hurt this bad too, Dad.

 

Love,

Jack

 

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9/1/xx

Dear Dad,

 

It’s nighttime now, like the last time I wrote to you. We haven’t left the village yet, Grace’s wounds aren’t healed enough to travel. Which normally is something that we would wait weeks for, but since there are magical healers here we will likely only have to wait a few days.

Grace has been incredibly grumpy, I mean, I understand. I hate being stuck in bed, and she can’t even sit up because all the wounds are on her back. She’s definitely better than she was, but even moving wrong can cause her a lot of pain. Benth left some pain ‘potions’ for her. if I hadn’t seen that they work so well already -I would- -they look so bad- -smell like shit-

The others have been in and out all day. Once they proved to themselves Grace was alive and healing well they left, to find things to do in the village. I stayed by her side. She didn’t want to be alone, and who was I to force that on her. She got bored really quickly though, and since she looked so scandalized when I asked her if she wanted to sleep more I offered to read the book Benth had left last night to her.

With some help shifting, we got her into a comfortable position, then I read to her as best as I could for a few hours. I’m sure she fell asleep at some point, but honestly, the ‘religious fables’ in this place read more like high fantasy short stories then preachy “Do unto others” stuff back home.

Rikki took over for a while in the middle of the day, She all but kicked me out and told me to get some food and to take a bath. I tried to go back in twice before she let me, I guess she didn’t want to risk waking Grace?

Either way, Rikki only left after I had taken a nap back at the inn(?) and had someone else corroborate for me. After that, I went back to reading to Grace, she didn’t really wake up until it was almost dinner time. We all came to eat with her, which she complained about. She also complained that we wouldn’t let her eat “Real” food. But really that was for her own safety, didn’t want her to choke on anything if she accidentally pulled something while eating.

After dinner, Benth shooed Stiles, Reese and I from the room and had Rikki and Willow help him change Grace’s dressings. Afterward, he gave us the estimate that with his assistance she would likely be done healing in a few days. After that, he gave her another of the pain potions and we all talked around and to her until she fell asleep.

There was some discussion about who should stay with Grace, but I told them I didn’t mind sleeping in the chair again. With only a little irritated discussion the others left and I went back to the chair that was fast becoming the only part of the village I knew well.

After a few more hours of boredom, I realized that there wasn’t a good reason not to write to you today. Once I finish this I’m going to curl up into the most comfortable position I can in this chair and sleep.

 

-I’m scared-

-Why did Grace have to get-

I’m sure I’ll be home soon.

 

Love,

Jack

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9/2/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Grace is officially now able to walk! Not that she couldn’t earlier, she didn’t have spinal damage. It was just a really bad idea for her to try to walk, or lay on her back, or really move too much. Her wounds aren’t as bad as they were previously, but they still look pretty bad. They’re going to scar for sure.

Also, Rikki may have accidentally found religion.

"How?" you ask?

Well apparently, at some point last night in her dreams she had a “vision” of herself as a great priestess for the goddess Kegga, and now she’s determined to follow through. Which I guess isn’t too bad. I mean, if she can learn how to heal people like Benth then hopefully we won’t have to spend as long in tiny villages with haphazard healers.

Rikki has also made friends with the local “guards” and she, Reese, and Stiles have all been “practicing” with them. Grace and I got to watch them being beaten up by a bunch of peasants, it was hilarious.

I helped Grace walk a little around the temple, the “training grounds” were nearby so we sat down to watch. Then we very slowly and carefully made our way to the baths, where Willow helped and I went and got us food.

All the locals have been really nice, making sure we have food and water and places to sleep. I guess the owlbear(?) was seriously hurting their trading, and they’re all seriously thankful. Grace and I were just wandering around when the baker (town baker?) called us into his shop, he gave us a bunch of his baked goods, invited us to come back anytime. I don’t know what half of the stuff he gave us was, but it was all really good.

We ended up going back to the little temple. Grace wanted to go the inn but Rikki and I convinced her it would be better for her to be at the temple in case she hurt herself in the middle night. It wasn’t hard as she was already sore and aching from walking around during the day.

When we got back she slept for a few hours then the others came with dinner. So we chattered and talked for a few hours until she fell asleep again.

This time though Rikki made me go back to the inn when we were done. Willow ended up being the one to stay with Grace tonight, but I plan on going back bright and early.

I miss home and my bed. While the ones here are -definietly- -defin- -difintly The beds are comfortable here, more so after spending a couple of nights sleeping in a chair, they aren’t MY bed. They smell weird, and the pillow is lumpy in all the wrong ways, and I know you aren’t sleeping down the hall and that’s - Worse. I know you aren’t always sleeping down the hall, but at least back home I can pretend you are most nights.-

I’m going to stop writing soon, Stiles is complaining about the light from the candlelight I’m using to write. -Candlelight I’m actually writing by- This place doesn’t have any kind of electricity, but who needs it when apparently magic is a thing?

 

-Is it bad I’m not-

-I’ll get home-

Love you, don’t worry about me too much.

 

Love,

Jack

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9/3/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Grace is basically all healed up. We plan to leave this strange little town tomorrow. After Grace gets healed up one last time. She most likely won’t be healed all the way, but she’ll be healed enough for travel.

Rikki has really made some headway with her decision to become a paladin. Apparently, here you just kinda have to announce that that’s what you’re doing with your life and they let you do it. She and Benth have been talking a lot about it today and yesterday, I’m really not sure what she has to do to fulfill her duties as a “Paladin of Kegga.” But Rikki is happy with all that she’s doing, so who am I to stop her?

Stiles and Reese have been taking turns -getting their asses handed to them- training with the “guards” in town. Which, they actually have improved some, now they aren’t being knocked down with literally every blow. - just every second or third- I guess most of the first couple days was learning to hold their swords right and the like.

Willow and I took the route of -getting our asses handed to us slightly less often- long-distance fighting instead. One of the townsfolk (named Harak) taught us how to properly hold the bow and how to more accurately hit our targets. Which isn’t to say either of us were particularly skilled at it, we both sucked. But at the end of today, we were both able to consistently hit a four-foot wide and tall bale of hay. Which doesn’t sound very impressive until you compare it to the fact that we literally couldn’t even hit that at 100 feet away this morning. We aren’t any kind of prodigies at it, but we’re okay and getting better.

Grace spent nearly all of today just watching everyone else learn how to do things. She wanted to join but no one was willing to let her risk hurting herself. She was really upset at first but mollified when we promised that we’d teach her what we learned when she was all healed up. That, and I think she had a little too much fun mocking most of our inabilities to do these basic weaponing things.

Also, training to do any kind of fighting thing leave you covered in bruises. The stupid bow string slapped my arm a LOT before I figured out how to hold right, now the inside of my forearm is purple-ly black all the way from my wrist to my elbow. Stiles and I have been sharing a room, and when he took off his shirt to go to sleep his back and sides were mottled like a tiger almost. We all got some salves from Benth to rub on our bruises, but apparently, it only speeds up the healing, it doesn’t help for the pain at all. Another sucky thing, the salve actually burns a lot when you put it on the bruises. Undamaged skin? Nothing. Bruised skin? Feels like someone is holding the bruises up over a fire. Like, it doesn’t feel like it’s hot enough to cause damage, but it -definately- -difinelty- -defantly- really feels uncomfortable. I rubbed some into my own bruises before helping Stiles and Reese with theirs, neither of them can bend the right way to properly apply it.

They’re both asleep now, sprawled incredibly awkwardly across Stiles bed. Reese really didn’t want to move after the salve had been applied and Stiles was too tired to try to make him. I wish I had a camera, or the ability to draw halfway decently so I could show you what they look like. It’s somewhere between hilarious and adorable.

I’m going to go to bed now. I hope you aren’t too worried. We’ll do our best to be safe, or to at least get in less trouble than we have been.

 

-I feel a little more-

-I don’t think I’ll-

-Rikki wants us up early-

I’m sure we’ll find a way home soon.

 

Love,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/8/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Oh man, Dad, what a week it’s been. Should I tell you the good news first or the bad news? Or the worse news? Or the other good news?

I guess I could start with the good news, we found a town fairly quickly. Just a little under a day away from the last one. We didn’t have to sleep in the woods, or on the road. I mean in theory that’s great right?

Granted the first part of the bad news is that we were thrown into the dungeons within minutes of arriving in the town. I guess there had been a spree of crime in the area, and it was easier for them to arrest the first passersby then to actually look for whoever was doing the spreeing. So we spent about three days in a random village prison. Not fun lemme tell ya, I have no idea if it’s worse than a normal prison, but it sucked majorly.

The other good news is that the guys who were actually committing the crimes got caught reasonably fast, so we didn’t spend forever in prison. Granted we were in there for THREE DAYS!! But I’ve heard stories where people were kept in jail even after the real criminal is caught so I probably shouldn’t complain too much. But they were quick to let us go and apologize.

Of course, the other bad news is that we were forced to leave our things in the prison, they told us that we couldn’t prove that most of our items, you know the swords, bows, small knives and such that they had literally taken off of us earlier in the week. The only things they allowed us to keep were our horses, what was on the horses, and the stash of coins that Rikki had kept hidden. I’m pretty sure that if they had found that they would have taken them too.

As it was we had no protection as we made our way back out of the town in near darkness. We only left so close to night time because not one of us could stand the idea of staying in that town even one more day. We traveled through the night and through most of the next day to get to the next town. At least this town didn’t lock us up straight away. They actually didn’t lock us up at all, in case you were worried.

They did charge us an arm and a leg for new weapons though. It cost nearly half our bag of coins for the swords and bows and a few arrows. Then they charged us a whole gold piece for us to stay in the inn they had there, which wasn’t even as nice as the one in the town before the last. -Not that I thought it was possible to get worse at the time-

I was able to buy my own pad of paper and some things to write with so now I don’t have to wait to be in a town to write. I’m going to try to write to you more regularly.

Grace’s wounds finished healing up nicely. She’s still a little sore, and she has to be careful not to do anything that might reopen her wounds. So that might have been the only thing the prison was good for, it kept her from moving too much.

Rikki has been reading through the book Benth gave her. She’s really been taking its stories to heart. We’ve been passing the stories around for the last couple days. I’m not even joking, this thing is like reading Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams. Most of the stories deep meaning, but at the same time, they’re really funny. I really have no idea what kind of religion this is, but I get the feeling it’s very Greek.

Willow suggested that we head to one of the really big cities in this area, she thinks that one of the people there might be able to help us get home. If not then at least Rikki can get training from one of the people at a bigger temple and the rest of us might be able to find better people to train us how to fight.

None of us could find a good reason not to. So we got directions and a worryingly simple map to follow to Chillholde. Looks like there are a few small towns between here and there, but the guy who gave us directions said it was a little over a week away if we traveled fast.

So tomorrow we head to Chillholde, after that we will either be home or we won’t. Not sure which one yet.

 

-I’m sure we’ll-

-Not too much longer-

-This-

-We’ll get through-

We’re going to be safe, and we’ll get home soon.

 

Love,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/10/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Turns out I just don’t have the time to write anywhere but in the inns. Yesterday I kept trying to write once we had set up camp, but it feels like every time I started to get my thoughts in order I’d get called away.

So writing in towns it is. Tonight we’re staying at The Filthy Didgeridoo. I didn’t know what a didgeridoo was until I came here. The people of this town are very, VERY proud of their didgeridoos and the didgeridoos place in their society. And to learn that we had to hear them play. For three hours. I’m pretty sure I never need to hear another song that contains didgeridoos ever again. I HOPE I never hear another song with didgeridoos again. After hearing their -horrifying- terrible- -mindnumbing- music, one of the gentlemen at the bar decided that we didn’t know enough about the production of didgeridoos, nor about their history. - Then he proceeded to talk about it for seemingly ever-

Grace has still been a little weak, lucky for me, and decided at that moment that she absolutely couldn’t stay up any longer. She asked me to take her back up to her room, which I happily obliged. That was a little over two hours ago, and not one of my companions has come upstairs since then. I must assume that they have died of boredom and that Grace and I are the only surviving members of our party.

In other news, there was a temple here that Rikki was able to go to before her untimely death due to didgeridoo discourse. It was a lot bigger than the one that Benth was in charge of. There are five people at this one, they all seem like nice enough people. They got really excited when Rikki talked about her dream and about how she wanted to worship Kegga. They showed her to a much bigger personal library, they either didn’t notice the rest of us or didn’t care that we were there, and started in on how she could properly start her training even if she was traveling. Starting tomorrow she’s going to have to be up at dawn to do the praying thing, which is going to suck since she’s dead.

Apparently most towns bigger than the first few we went through have like a craigslist board near the center of town. Anyone can go up and put stuff on the board that they have and want to get rid of, or need, or that they need someone else to do for them. So we’re staying in town tomorrow instead of heading out immediately so we can do a few of the requests. Stiles and Willow convinced Rikki it was a good idea because then we could fill up our coin pouch a little and she could have one more day with the - templists? -templar?- -lizardfolk who came up with a totally fake religion that every here seems to accept?- priests here.

So we found a bunch of jobs that don’t pay a lot, but Willow thinks it would be a good idea to, “Pad our purse.” We get the extra money, then we can afford rooms and such while we’re in the city. We’ve been making up lists of what we need to get, sleeping bags, tents, the like.  

If nothing else, at least we’re adapting quickly. I hope you aren’t worrying too much. We’re fine for tha moment. I’m going to go to bed now, hopefully I’ll be asleep before the ghosts of my friends make their way upstairs and make a bunch of noise.

 

-It’ll be fine-

-Love-

We‘re going to be home soon.

 

Love,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/11/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Do you want to know what I did today? Today I spent like three hours wandering around the forest looking for some plant that should have been very easy to find. Then, once I gave up and went back to town, Grace, kind, lovely, beautiful Grace told me that I shouldn’t give up so easily. So we both went into the forest, and she spotted the stupid plant within five minutes. Then, THEN, to make matters worse, she found the other plants that were on the list of plants the locals wanted, all within the next half hour. It’s like she has a superpower for finding these stupid plants. Which, great, we got paid for it, but my pride is a little wounded. -A lot wounded.-

Rikki woke up literally before dawn somehow, I’m fairly certain it’s because she never actually went to bed last night, but I have no idea. Anyway, when she got back she insisted that the rest of us join her at oh dawn thirty to have a far too early breakfast before “starting the day.” Then she all but kicked all of us out of the inn to go track down jobs and plants and all kinds of things while she went to “study” at the local temple.

I mean. We did a pretty good job all together. Gathering plants, herding animals, helping with harvest, literally just moving some boxes for a wizard. We got paid mostly is copper and silver coins instead of gold, but we refilled our pouch and will be ready to go tomorrow.

I’m so ready to leave this town and all that has to do with didgeridoos. It feels like every corner you cross in this town leads to another person with a didgeridoo. Every. Single. Corner. I could not exaggerate this if I tried. There are so many didgeridoos. This town is soaked in the sounds of didgeridoos. I have grown to hate the sound of didgeridoos.

I’m going to bed, hopefully without the drone of didgeridoos.

But they will be there. They will be there forever.

 

Love,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/12/xx

Dear Dad,

 

You will probably be happy to hear that we got out of the damned didgeridoo district. I mean, I’m happy to have gotten out of the damned didgeridoo district. We made it to the next little town down the road before nightfall. Well, honestly it wasn’t even a town. It was like, even smaller than a village. A hamlet?

It’s technically its own town, but it’s like three buildings and an inn for travelers. They don’t even have a temple here. The inn is tiny too. There’s the bar, and then three rooms for patrons to rent for the night. The rooms don’t even have beds, just like pads on the floor. There are like five in each room, so we all just slept in one room last night. Rikki had us all sleep with our weapons close, just in case.

I guess she thinks we might be attacked or robbed in the middle of the night. But the people here seem almost too stupid to be harmful or dangerous. At least intentionally, I mean, they might hurt someone accidentally, but it seems unlikely. Either way, I’m going to sleep with my knife next to me. I really doubt I’ll need it, it just seems like a good idea to do what Rikki asks. Grace almost refused to sleep in here, she called the beds “shifty” and said she’d rather sleep on the floor. So that’s exactly what she’s doing. She’s asleep so I guess it’s pretty comfortable.

We’re going to head out just after dawn tomorrow. There isn’t anything to restock here and it’s not like we really need to restock. We’re about three towns away from Chilholde, so as long as we don’t spend too much time in each town, it shouldn’t be more than a week. But since we’re probably going to stop in each town and try to do stuff in each of them, it’s probably going to take forever.

Stiles and Reese are passed all the way out. They practiced their sparring some after dinner. Which actually means that they beat the crap out of each other while the rest of us cheered them on. They are now bruised and battered and sleeping it off.

There’s really not much to tell today. I'll write more tomorrow.

I’ll be home soon enough.

 

Love,

Jack

 

Chapter Text

9/14/xx

Dear Dad,

 

I really should learn that it’s harder to write on the roads. We ended up stopping in between towns last night. I tried writing and just didn’t have the time or willpower to do it. So, I guess I have to do when we're at an inn. I’ve tried outside of them, it just doesn’t work.

We’re in a nice little village, and this time it actually is a village, there are more than four buildings this time. One of them is actually a temple, and the people at this one think that Rikki is now “far enough in her teachings” that she can learn the “secrets of the temple.” Which I guess roughly translates to “we need more people to do stuff because apparently this entire world is a life hazard and we keep losing people who know how to keep people alive.” Anyway, Rikki is all but camped out at the temple here.

Grace found a job meeting with a guy in the forest, I know sounds bad. But the guy is like a hundred years old and needed someone to carry a basket that he was filling with plants from the forest. She spent most of the day helping him prepare the plants. I joined the two for a while, mostly just carrying stuff. Grace sent me off saying that she had it covered, so I spent the rest of the day doing a fairly odd job at the town -center?- -plaza- office. I literally only moved the small stack of books from one side of the room to the other and back again. Literally, no rhyme or reason for it, the guy in charge of the town just wanted them picked up, he didn’t even clean the space they were. Just had me pick them up. He paid well for it though. Fifteen silver coins just for that. So, I’m not complaining, it’s just kinda weird, you know?

Reese and Stiles spent the day cleaning out the -armory- -armoury- amorey- the building full of weapons on the other side of town. Well, they spent most of the first half of the day doing that. The second half they convinced the local ‘guard’ to ‘train’ them. This once again translates to, ‘they got beaten by a bunch of villagers while several of their friends watched and laughed.’ Willow also participated in the beating of Stiles and Reese. Unlike the boys, she seems to actually be learning something from the continues beatings and is now starting to whop the villagers and our friends. I took some time to practice with my bow, I’m getting a lot better with it.

Just before the sun went down, we briefly saw Rikki for dinner. She says there’s some kind of holy day, -holy night?- that the clerics of this temple are celebrating, and she’s going to be part of it. Rikki described it as some kind of ritual honoring the ‘mother moon goddess’ and that she expected to be gone all night. She asked if any of the rest of us wanted to join, but we’re all beat so we told her to have fun. I wonder if she’s planning to sleep on her horse because she said we were leaving at first light tomorrow and yet she’s still going out all night.

Grace didn’t come back from helping the old man until well after the sun went down. Which was honestly terrifying. I was feeling ready to go hunt the old man down to make sure she was okay. But I guess the two of them just lost track of time. Grace says the old guy was a lot of fun to talk to, and that he had a lot of wisdom and stories to tell.

The inn in this town is actually a lot nicer than the last few we’ve been in. Stiles actually asked about it. Apparently, this place is just close enough to a larger town that when all the inns are full there -which apparently happens fairly often- they send people here because it’s only an hour(ish) away. So they made this inn up all nice and big because the other inns in other towns aren’t anywhere near as nice so most of their guests come here first. So, they probably overcharged us by a lot, but this may be the nicest place we’ve stayed at since the lord’s house.

We’re going to try to get to Chillholde by tomorrow night. Rikki thinks we’ll be able to do it. If we ride hard today and into the night we should be able to make it there before we sleep again. I’m not so sure about this and neither are the others, but we’re willing to try.

Not a single one of us wants to stay in this stupid magic world any longer than we have to. Grace has been complaining mightily, she misses her parents a lot and would even be willing to suffer them being in the same room at the same time if it meant she would see them sooner. Stiles has been near mutinous if he thinks someone’s doing something that will make the way to get home unnecessarily longer he’ll verbally attack them. Not for long, cause Rikki or Reese or Willow will actually attack him. But he’ll certainly try. Speaking of Reese picking fights, I think that’s how he’s showing that he misses his brothers. He keeps trying to wrestle with everyone with varying degrees of success. Rikki seems to be accepting that and is always picking fights back, and I’m pretty sure that and her newfound religion are her ways of coping. Willow just keeps getting quieter and quieter. If no one initiates conversations she just won’t talk, which reminds me far too much of how she was when we first became friends. I’ve been trying to talk to her more and I’ve drug Grace in on my plot. At least they’re both talking to each other for all the complaining.

I miss you, Dad. I miss you a lot. I can’t wait to come home. -I can’t- -I just want- The sooner we get home the better. We aren’t sure what we need to look for in the city to get home. But we’ll look.

-Love you-

-This time in-

-I’m sure-

I’m sure we’ll be home soon.

 

Love,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/16/xx

Dear Dad,

 

We made it to Chillholde, but just barely.

Turns out traveling in the middle of the night is a terrible idea. We got attacked around dusk by a bunch of bandits. We thought we were goners but we managed ti fight them off long enough to make a run for it. We lost a few arrows in and around the bandits, turns our firing from horseback is very different from firing while stationary. Grace was able to get her horse to trample a couple of the bandits, which was terrifying and awe-inspiring from my own point of view.

We ended up trying to ride our horses at full gallop for a long time. Until we and our horses really couldn’t keep it up anymore. We rode at a walk and a trot until we reached Chillholde. The walls of the city are huge. A hundred or more feet tall and I guess they’re not actually twenty feet thick because there are rooms inside the walls, but they look that thick and they have lots of guards all over the place. Rikki and Stiles alternated trying to get the guards t let us in for nearly an hour while the rest of us did our best not to fall asleep and fall off our horses. Reese was not successful, but on the upside that was what convinced the guards to let us into the city.

The doors were bigger than life, Dad. They were so huge. The guard called for the “ninety-eighth” position for the doors and then they opened just four feet. Just enough that we riding the horses were able to slip through. For such large doors, they moved soundlessly, there was no sign that they opened, and they made no sound when they closed. Just, nothing. It was surreal, in all those movies that have castles with big gates they always make so much noise, but this was like a dream. Except for the plodding of our horses, there were no sounds to indicate our passing.

The guards on the inside gave us directions for an inn in the Temple district. It took a long time to get to the temple district, we got lost a few times. We had to ask directions a couple of times too. But when we got there the inn was very simple but nice. The innkeeper took us in without any questions. I guess the random middle of the night guests isn’t too uncommon in these big cities, despite the hardship it was to get into the city. When we were finally falling into bed, the sun was just starting to rise.

Rikki went to pray before we slept. I have no idea how long that took her because I was asleep before she came back in, and then we all slept past noon.

In the afternoon we decided to go check out the city, see what there was to see. We found the main market area and spent a couple of hours just looking at all the neat and crazy stuff there. I wish I had the words to explain what I saw, it was amazing and so cool and there was so much stuff!

We split into groups, Stiles, Grace, and I went to see what there was in the Magic District. We found some neat shops that sold a variety of magic stuff. Potions, wands, spell books, scrolls. There were magic swords and stuff too! Sadly most of them were waaaaaaay outside our price range, so we just looked. Turns out potions and the like are suuuuuper expensive.

We went to a “Magic Supply Store.” I wish you could have seen it, Dad. It was amazing. There was a jar of eyes that followed you around the shop. There were all kinds of things, from diamonds to animal pieces to charcoal and dust. They were literally selling dust. I mean, I guess it’s used for spells and potions and stuff, but dust. Stiles and I asked the poor shopkeeper like hundreds of questions. She answered all of them without complaint, but I feel bad because we only got a couple of scrolls and a potion from her.

Then we wandered around the rest of the town for awhile. It was nice, everything was very interesting in such a strange and unknowable way. I’ve seen some of the things they had for sale, but some of it, I could never have dreamed of, no matter how imaginative I thought I could be. I don’t even have words for some of what I saw. I can’t wait to go look more tomorrow.

Rikki and Willow went to the local temple, apparently, it was huge and beautiful and they want us to see it tomorrow too. They told me that I’ve never seen a church like it before, I want to see it. This place is terrifying and strange and there’s so much. I want to see it all.

 

Love you, I’m sure we’ll find a quick way home from here soon,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/17/xx

Dear Dad,

 

The temple is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.  The ceiling was so tall it was like you couldn't even see the top. There were two huge statues in the main room, a man and a woman. The man was made out of some weird black stone, and the woman was made out of ivory or some white and grey stone. They were as tall, -maybe even taller- -no that's stupid - as the ceiling, you couldn't see their faces, just the -cib- -Sim- -cybals- things in their hands that -reprens- -represent- Showed who they were and said a little about their story. 

There were all kinds of people running about the place in -very obviously- -well- -sort-   in the kind of similar but different clothes that makes them all look like their part of a group. 

Willow and Rikki showed us around. They were excited by the huge library that was full of books that were a mixture of history and kinda like the crusades and Greeks stories. All the major battles had some mention of the gods but so much more was going on too. if we were going to be here longer I'd want to read more of them. There were also a bunch of rooms that were like, they were -individualiesed- -inna- -indvia- made for each of the different gods. Each room had a table like thing that people could put offerings and stuff on. And myths and stories of each of the god were kept on scrolls in the rooms.  It was kinda surreal. 

It's like there's a bunch of books and stuff for the -christien- -Christin- -Christion- the god that most people back home follow. But they're all retellings of the same stories. These ones are hundreds of stories for each of the gods that could be told a dozen different ways based on who's book is being read. 

The property of the church was also HUUUUUUUUUGE! 

Like there was the -church- temple -it's a temple not a church- and a bunch of training fields and like there library was also huge beyond belief. and there was a school on the temple grounds and dormatories(?) too. 

This place is built for everyone and anyone who wanted to be here to stay. Honestly, the whole place is super inviting too. it'slike, you want to stay here. You want to be a part of things. 

I kinda get why Rikki is so gunho about it. It's def something I could get into if I were in any way willing to be religious. But the stories are cool, and the people are nice, sooo...

Although that's not the only thing to talk about from today. We started looking for a way out of this crazy world. But everyone seems to think we're either crazy or they don't know how to help us. 

Well, sort of -segway- -sagway- connected to the temple, thing. We asked the people there if they could help us none of them seemed to know what was needed to help us. 

-It's scary- 

They said they hadn't ever heard a story -quiet- quite like ours before, at least not that they remembered, and they were going to look in their archives to see if anything even closely related had happened before. They suggested the Magic quarter might have people who could -potentieally- -potentealally- -potentielly- possibly help us and to check in there.

We decided that was probably a good idea, and they told us that we should come back in a couple of days when they might have more info to help us out. I mean, they offered to let us crash in their dorms if we needed, but it was heavily implied that they wouldn't have anything about getting us home for a couple days. 

So we went out and wandered the Magic quarter for anything that implied that someone therein might be able to help us. 

We looked in some magic shops and were all too often sent to the next one down cause "they might have something to help". None of them could help. None of them had anything that was even close to helping. Some of them sent us to shops that asked for a "consulting fee" AKA they wanted money to tell us they couldn't help us.

We quickly learned to avoid those kinds of fees. 

I'm honestly ready to leave this city to see if there's another that might be able to help us. -Because all of this is stupid and I just want to go home- It seems that there's no one in this place that can help us. Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe we just haven't met the people who can help us yet. There's still more than a couple shops we haven't looked at still in the lower district, let alone in the higher up ones. Maybe the person who can help us will be in the middle district. 

We'll get out of here. One way or another. 

-I'm scared I might be wrong-

-we barely have money for food-

-What if the cost to get home is higher than we can pay?-

-If we're here too much longer-

Willow suggested that we start looking for small time jobs if tomorrows search is as fruitless as today's. I don't like that way of thinking, but I'm backing her up anyway. I saw something that looked like a job posting while walking around today. 

If tommorrow we still don't have any answers, I'm going to start looking for work. We only have so much money for supplies and stuff and we're already burning through what we had saved too fast. 

Grace isn't fully healed. Her back was hurting her so much by this evening she almost couldn't walk. 

I wanted her to come with me back to the temple, see if anyone there could help her. She refused to go. So I helped her rub some of a healing salve on her back, which seemed to help some, but not nearly enough. If her back is this bad tommorow I'm going to make her go to the temple, there's no reason for her to be living with this amount of pain when it's -theoretically- -thereticall- -theorytically- something that could be fixed with the strange magic of this world.

 

-I'm-

-Is this what adulthood is?-

-Sorry for being a pain-

I hope one day I can thank you face to face for taking care of me,

Love, 

Jack

Chapter Text

9/18/xx

Dear Dad,

 

Bad news:

Based on the fact that I'm not home yet, you can probably figure out that we haven't gotten home yet. 

Worse news:

we haven't even found a person who may be able to help us get home.

Good news:

We currently have enough money that if we kept looking only for a way home and not for work we'd still have enough money for a couple of weeks.

More good news:

We've decided to stay at the temple for the rest of the time we're Chillholde so that we aren't loosing what little money we have as quickly. 

Slightly more good news:

We found a fair few easy one off jobs in the magic distrect so maybe we can trade favors for getting back home if we help the right people.

Best news of the day:

we were finally able to convince Grace to see one of the healers at the temple after she nearly tumbled down a flight of stairs. She got healed some and is resting now. The wounds on her back look a lot better than before she got healed. Less angry I would say. 

 

That's really all I have for today.

Love you and miss you a lot,

Jack

Chapter Text

9/19/xx

Dear Dad,

 

I thought it was just a funny -steriotype- -starieo- -stair- thing that wizards in movies and books are always shown to be very messy and to have a bunch of stuff. But it's not just funny! It's true!

Basically all of today was spent cleaning up after wizards and warlocks and sorcerers. Turns out they're all crazy messy. I'm probablly going to spend tomorrow and the day ofter cleaning up after them too. A lot of the jobs posted in the magic district are just going in and acting as maids for the magic people. On the upside of this multiple of them told me that if I'm sticking around for any length of time, if I keep coming back they keep paying me as long as I want to work. One actually offered me an aprenticeship if I want it too! I'm not one hundred percent on what that means, or what I'd have to do, but it sounds super cool! 

I think I'm going to go through and see if I and subtly ask some of the other wizard people what exactly an aprenticeship would look like so I know if it's something I should take the guy who offered up on.

I'm really tired, and most of my body hurts in a way that is very different from how riding a horse all day makes my body hurt. So I'm going to go to bed sooner rather than later. Because the temple has not quite gongs but basically gongs that go off almost an hour before sunrise so everyone can get up to pray. But I don't want to pray. And it's impossible to get back to sleep after wards. 

So I'm going to bed, and if it takes -a long time- too much longer to get home, I may just be a wizard when I get home. Depends on time frame and just what is needed to do that, but honestly, to me, that sounds a lot cooler than "Devoting myself to Kegga(?)" like Rikki, or just getting beaten up by various people until I'm better with a sword than they are, like Stiles and Reese. So we'll all have weird skills when we get home, but maybe they'll be kinda useful? Who knows! 

-I wish you were here-

I wish that you could tell me what do. To focus on getting home, or focus on learning to be a wizard, or just focus on cleaning up after wizards, or help Rikki, or something!

I'm alone here, Dad. For all that I'm amoung friends, they have as little clue as I do. 

 

-I miss you-

-I need a sign-

I'm going to see what tomorrow brings, and work from there. I think that's what you'd do. 

Love, 

Jack